Big news in the world of search today!
Former Weblogs Inc. founder and serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis launched Mahalo.com, a human-powered search engine, at the Wall Street Journal's D Conference.
The site is currently being launched in Alpha with the Internet's 4,000 most popular search terms completed and hopes to reach 10,000 search terms by the end of the year. At that point it will enter Beta, and launch shortly thereafter.
From the press release:
The site is focused on the top English-language search terms, including verticals such as travel, products, news, entertainment, sports, food, and health. "Google's mission is to index the world's information; our mission is to curate that wonderful index," said Calacanis. "It's my belief that humans can play a significant role in the development of search results and we're going to try to figure out exactly what that role is over the next couple of years. I am really looking forward to hearing what people think of the Alpha," he added.
Supposedly they have already closed two rounds of funding and have enough capital to last 4 years without revenue. Also, the investor list reads like a who's who of VC and includes Sequoia Capital, Elon Musk and NewsCorp. Additional investors include CBS Corporation, Hubert Burda Media, Allen & Co., David Bradley, Gigi Brisson, Sandy Climan, Mark Cuban, Matt Coffin, Ted Leonsis, Jonathan Miller, Mark Pincus, Ryan Scott, and Fred Wilson.
This is going to be one to keep your eye on. Given Calacanis's disdain for SEO and SEM, one can only imagine the implications if Mahalo, and human enabled search, takes off.
I'm going to play around with it tonight and report back tomorrow. I'd love to hear what others think.